Distortion Practice: 004

Spot the cognitive distortions in your life

  

You can get better at revealing the cognitive distortions in your life with a little practice. Try identifying the distortions that are happening in this short story:

  

📖 Short story

Steve has been cleaning the house all day, preparing for his wife Nancy to return from her trip. Tired, Nancy gets home sits down and doesn’t mention the condition of the home. Steve thinks, “I won’t do that again – she didn’t even notice.”

Which of the following distortions are you experiencing? You can find the answers below.

  

📜 Common distortions

  • 👯‍ Generalizing: Assuming that because you experienced something in the past this must mean it will happen again. “A dog bit me when I was 5, therefore all dogs are dangerous and will bite me.”

  • ☄️  Catastrophizing: Are you focused on the worst case scenario? Regardless of how likely it is.

  • 🧠  Mind reading: Assuming what others think. They probably think I'm an idiot.”

  • ✨ Should statements: Pressuring yourself with things you should have done differently. I should have eaten healthier today."

  • 🌓  All or nothing thinking: Thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. "She doesn't want to date me. I'll never find love.”

  • 🕹️  Out of your control: Are you worrying about something out of your control?

  • 🔮  Fortune telling: Assuming future events. “I just know that something is going to go wrong and I'm going to be late for my interview.”

  • 🚫  Disqualifying the positive: Focusing only on the bad. He said that I looked nice but he says that to everybody. He was just being polite."

  • 🏷️ Labeling: Taking one characteristic of a person and applying it to the whole person. “I failed a test, so I'm a bad student.”

  • 🔎 Magnifying the negative: Judging a situation entirely on the negative parts and not considering the positive parts. “I ate healthy this week, but I skipped the run I had planned.”

  

💡 Answers

I won’t do that again - she didn’t even notice.

Steve made a negative conclusion based on her lack of response. Nancy may not have noticed now in her exhausted state, but she probably will later. A better way of thinking would be, “She’s tired, it’s always nice to have the house clean. She’ll notice when she’s rested.”

  

🌇 Conclusion:

Everyone has cognitive distortions sometimes. But we can prevent them from taking over our lives with a little practice everyday.

Here’s another powerful tool for defeating cognitive distortions: Triple column technique.

  

📚 Read more

More distortions: https://psychcentral.com/lib/15-common-cognitive-distortions

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_distortion

Youtube: What are Cognitive Distortions?

  

📱 Practice more

Download Bold CBT. It’s an iOS app that I made which makes it easier to do CBT exercises like this one.

  

🙏 Thank you

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